Capt. George M. Vahsen, 52, deputy director of athletics and director of the physical education department at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, died Thursday in Port St. Lucie, Fla., after a heart attack. He was on vacation there.

Before his assignment to the Naval Academy in 1978, he had served for three years as deputy coordinator of the Trident submarine program in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations here.

He also had had an earlier tour of duty in 1972-73 on the staff of the chief of naval operations.

Between those assignments, Capt. Vahsen had commanded the Naval Submarine School in New London, Conn.

He was born in Port Chester, N.Y., and grew up in Greenwich, Conn. After graduating from high school there, he enlisted in the Navy in 1945. He served as an aviation electronics mate, then attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Bainbridge, Md.

Capt. Vahsen entered the Naval Academy in 1948 and graduated in 1952. He volunteered for the Naval Submarine School, and after completing training there in 1953, served on submarines. He also attended the Naval Nuclear Power School in New London.

He also had served with a submarine squadron in Holy Loch, Scotland, and with the submarine force of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Honolulu.

His decorations included two Legion of Merit awards.

Survivors include his wife, the former Penny Fradd, of Annapolis; five children, David, Cathleen, Sharon, Steven and James; his father, Charles G., of Rainbow Lake, N.Y., and his mother, Edith Ondayko, of Bridgeport, Conn.